Artist: Tee Set

Ma Belle Ami – Tee Set

tee-setTee Set was formed in Delft, The Netherlands by singer, Peter Tetteroo.  They were initially an R&B band, but their repertoire leaned to more Pop over the years. From 1967, their records were released on their own Teeset Records label (a first on the Dutch pop scene).

The first line-up included: Peter (vocals), Carry Janssen (drums, later to Nico Haak), Gerard Romeyn (guitar/bass, 1966-67 on guitar, to The Motions) and Rob “Polle” Eduard (guitar/bass). In 1966, Robert Plazier (keyboards, ex-C-Sounds, later with Nico Haak) came on board. Their first two singles were penned for them by Robbie van Leeuwen of The Motions and were moderate hits. Hans van Eijck (guitarist of  Jumping Pop-in) composed a few songs for their debut album “Emotion”. After the release of the album Robert Plazier was ousted in favour of Hans van Eijck, who switched to organ. Early 1967, Gerard Romeyn left to join The Motions as a replacement for Robbie van Leeuwen. English guitarist Ray Fenwick (ex-Syndicats, where he’d replaced Steve Howe) joined the Tee Set with  Polle Eduard  now permanently on bass. In the Spring of 1967, there were squabbles between singer Peter Tetteroo (backed by manager Theo Kuppens) and the rest of the band. At the centre of the problems were disagreements about the royalties for “Don’t You Leave” (a Top 10 hit culled from the album “Emotion”), which was a traditional blues song copied from a Dave Van Ronk album, for which Tetteroo  and Kuppens claimed songwriting credits. Tetteroo  decided to get rid of the whole band (Janssen had already left) and subsequently Eduard, van Eijck and Fenwick founded After Tea.

Tetteroo then picked three members of Amsterdam band James Mean (who were without a lead singer as Michel van Dijk had joined Les Baroques): Franklin Madjid (bass), Joop Blom (drums) and Ferdy Karmelk (guitar). Jan Pieter Boekhoorn (like Hans van Eijck also an ex-Jumping Pop-in, later in Sympathy) joined on organ. The music style of the band shifted from R&B to pop with songs like “Tea Is Famous”. The following year Karmelk was replaced by Dihl Bennink (ex-Don’t, brother of Leo Bennink of the Jay-Jays and The Motions) followed by the replacement of Boekhoorn by Peter Seilberger (later in Fairy Tale).

1969 saw the return of Hans van Eijck from his stint with After Tea. The line-up of Tetteroo, van Eijck, Madjid, Blom and Bennink recorded the worldwide hit “Ma Belle Amie” (#5 in the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970), but the personnel changes continued. First Blom was replaced by Herman van Boeyen (ex-Fullhouse, to Supersister) on drums, but soon afterwards he left and Max Spangenberg joined. Ferry Lever left After Tea to join the Set on guitar. This line-up remained stable for a few years scoring hits like “She Likes Weeds” (their only Dutch #1 hit) which was banned in the USA for drug connotations, (of course) denied by the band. They claimed the first two lines of the chorus were literally taken from the movie “The Ipcress File” (starring Michael Caine) where Harry Palmer (played by Caine) makes a remark about his superior’s weedy garden. Palmer’s boss answers his wife looks after the garden and that: “She likes weeds, they’re easy to grow.”

When subsequent releases sold less and less, the band decided to call it a day in 1975. In the 1980s, Peter Tetteroo started touring with all kinds of line-ups again (at one point including Polle Eduard and Ray Fenwick) touring mainly the oldies circuit. Tetteroo died in 2002 from liver cancer at the age of 55.

Ma Belle Ami

The title translates to: “My beautiful (female) friend.” The rest of the French part in the lyrics translates to: “After all the beautiful days, I tell you thank you, thank you.”

[flv]http://djallyn.org/media/tee_set-ma_belle_ami.flv[/flv]

Ma belle amie
You were a child of the sun
And the sky and the deep blue sea
Ma belle amie
Apres tous les beaux jours
Je te dis merci merci
You were the answer of all my questions
Before we’re through
I want to tell you that I adore you
And always do
That you amaze me by leaving me now
And start a-new
Ma belle amie I’m in love with you

Let the bells ring
Let the birds sing
Let’s all give my substitute a big cheer
Let the bells ring
Let the birds sing
For the man after him waits here
For the man after him waits here

Ma belle amie
You were a child of the sun
And the sky and the deep blue sea
Ma belle amie
There was a time that you thought
That your only friend was me
You were the answer of all my questions
Before we’re through
I want to tell you that I adore you
And always do
That you amaze me by leaving me now
And start a-new
Ma belle amie I’m in love with you

Let the bells ring
Let the birds sing
Let’s all give my substitute a big cheer
Let the bells ring
Let the birds sing
For the man after him waits here
For the man after him waits here

  • Audio from the 1969 single, Ma Belle Ami,
  • Later compiled on the 2004 album, The Best of Tee-Set:

album-best-of-tee-set
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